Primary Education Study

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Primary Education Study

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program (14 days)


In 1997, the government of Uganda introduced the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme in an effort to increase primary school enrollment rates across the country. Over the next two decades, primary school enrollment rose to a remarkable high of 90%, enabling the country to come close to achieving Millennium Development Goal 2 (MDG2) of 100% primary school enrollment.

However, access to education has often come at the expense of quality, especially at the primary level. The rapidly increasing demand for primary education has led to persistent overcrowding, with classes in some schools exceeding 100 children per teacher, and an acute shortage of trained, high-quality, motivated teachers. These conditions compound already bleak statistics on literacy and numeracy: According to the most recent UWEZO report, only 35% of Primary 3 – Primary 7 students in rural schools was able to read and understand an English story at the Primary 2 level, while only 50% of the same students were able to complete a Primary 2 level division problem. An estimated 68% of primary school children will not even finish the full 7 years. Furthermore, the stagnant nature of Uganda’s colonial-era curriculum and teacher training programs and the exam-focused education system put immense pressure on teachers to ensure that students commit large amounts of academic content to memory. This is a time-consuming endeavor that leaves little room for the development of 21st century skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.

Through this program, students will be able to form concrete linkages between their academic course work and the complex realities of education in the developing world. Students will have the opportunity to partner with teacher training colleges and primary schools to examine the challenges faced by Uganda’s education system and to explore opportunities for incorporating dynamic, student-centred instructional models into existing practice. This program is ideal for students currently enrolled in teacher education, pedagogy, and educational psychology programs. It is also suitable for development studies students who are especially interested in education or children and youth.

Why Kampala?

This program is based at one of the largest public universities in Uganda and is located close to the heart of the capital city, Kampala.  The program includes site visits to and/or service-learning experiences at a university Department of Teacher Education, different types of primary schools (public, private, and progressive), and teacher training colleges. This will give students the chance to observe part of Kampala’s diverse education ecosystem while participating in service-learning activities which focus on cross-cultural knowledge sharing.

Students will also travel to Western Uganda, which offers both a change of scenery and the unique opportunity to visit our partner schools - one is providing learner-centered education to rural children and the other is a community-run initiative. This will round out the students’ exposure and allow them to make critical comparisons between the different models of education found across the country. Finally, visits to two secondary schools in Kampala will give students a fuller picture of Uganda’s education system.

Learning Outcomes

By participating in this program, students will:

  1. Develop and apply cross-cultural communication skills through partnerships with educators and service-learning experiences.
  2. Examine and analyze the range of educational models across the country and place them in a global context.
  3. Appraise personal and academic growth through guided reflection activities and group sharing sessions.
  4. Analyze the challenges faced by the Ugandan education system and critically examine the ways teachers and schools are attempting to mitigate these challenges.
  5. Collaborate with local educators to incorporate varied instructional strategies in order to improve teaching and learning, such as experiential learning, formative assessment, cooperative learning and inquiry-based teaching.

*Our team of instructional designers is also able to adapt activities and learning outcomes to meet your specific requirements.

Program Highlights

  1. The opportunity to work alongside knowledgeable local stakeholders in Uganda’s education sector who approach challenges with a lens framed by their culture.
  2. Community-engaged learning experiences which provide reciprocal benefits to both local communities and study abroad participants through community-identified and driven projects.
  3. Exciting excursions that will allow you to get up close and personal with Uganda’s wildlife.
  4. Thrilling cultural events and performances that will show you why Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa.

Customize Your Program

Contact us to learn more about how our team of knowledgeable program consultants can help you develop and execute a bespoke faculty-led study abroad learning journey for your students.

Apply today to get started on a challenging and rewarding experience.



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